Wheat

More "mansions" for marsupials

Tuesday 10 December, 2013
Almost 60 nest boxes were made to provide habitat for endangered box ironbark forest wildlife at the "Marsupial Mansions 2" Field Day held at Heathcote Community House recently.

Almost 60 nest boxes were made to provide habitat for endangered box ironbark forest wildlife at the "Marsupial Mansions 2" Field Day held at Heathcote Community House recently.

The event was organised by the Whroo Goldfields Conservation Management Network (CMN) and was part of the Biodiversity Spring celebrations held across the Goulburn Broken catchment this year.

Whroo Goldfields CMN Coordinator Janice Mentiplay-Smith said the event was a fun and hands on way for people to get together and build nest box habitat for local endangered and threatened species.

"The day was about building nest box habitat for endangered box ironbark forest creatures such as the brush-tailed phascogale, sugar gliders, and squirrel gliders, as well as habitat for micro-bats and forest birds including pardalotes, a pretty woodland bird," Ms Mentiplay-Smith said.

"Because of past land-use history, most of the forests have been cleared, resulting in the trees now being all of the same age, which means there is no diversity of age in the forest. Therefore there are a distinct lack of tree hollows, which these critters require for nesting and breeding. The Whroo Goldfields CMN nest box program currently has around 400 nest boxes on public land and 100 on private land. This number increased by about 60 boxes after this event."

She said nest boxes occupancy had increased to 54% this year, up from 48% last year and 30% in 2011.

"CMN member Orlando Talamo from Costerfield does a wonderful job of monitoring the nest boxes each year and gave the group a short talk about monitoring methods and results. He also spoke about how and where to hang up the nest box," Ms Mentiplay-Smith said.

Ms Mentiplay-Smith said about 44 people attended the workshop, with 17 people new to the CMN, including some from Melbourne.

"It is great to see such a range of ages of people at these events - everyone it seems enjoys getting stuck into building nest boxes," she said. "We also really appreciate the support of Heathcote Community House for allowing us to use the venue, and to the Heathcote Farmers Market Committee who provided a sumptuous lunch that was enjoyed by everyone."

For more information on the Whroo Goldfields CMN and its nest box program, or for plans of nest boxes so you can build one yourself, please contact Janice Mentiplay-Smith on 5761 1644 or email janicem@gbcma.vic.gov.au